Everyone watching or in attendance at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game experienced an uncomfortable moment on Tuesday when one of the singers performing at the event changed up the Canadian national anthem to include the contentious phrase “all lives matter” into the lyrics.
Remigio Pereira, a member of multi-platinum Canadian vocal group called The Tenors, replaced “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North strong and free!” in “O Canada” to sing, “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the brave.”
To make things worse, he even held up a handwritten sign with the slogan that is widely regarded a counter-argument to “Black Lives Matter” during the recital.
Member of the Tenors, singing the Canadian anthem here, just held "All Lives Matter" card up during the song: pic.twitter.com/4YGlbYYr5o— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 13, 2016
With racial tensions running high in the United States, where the game was actually taking place, Pereira’s move wasn’t much appreciated. Even those not offended by the phrase called the alteration to the original lyrics absolutely disrespectful.
Tenors butchering our Canadian national anthem is an insult to our great land. The anthem represents all of us.— Ian Phillips (@cactusjoe333) July 13, 2016
I'm an American & I'm pissed by what the Tenors did to O, Canada. Anthem lyrics don't change...ever. #AllStarGame— Sharon Ross (@Bink5of5) July 13, 2016
Apparently, the Fox broadcast cut to commercial during the Canadian national anthem, so the American audience largely missed the addition to the lyrics.
Here’s what Twitterati had to say about the unfortunate event:
I think the @TenorsMusic need to answer more for the All Lives Matter sign than the anthem. But that's just me.— Jeff Blair (@SNJeffBlair) July 13, 2016
"And now, please welcome the Tenors, to somehow insult the black community and ruin the Canadian anthem at the same time. Play ball!"— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) July 13, 2016
"From far and wide— Ty Berry (@tberry3) July 13, 2016
Jet fuel can't melt steel beams"
- The Canadian Tenors at their next performance, probably
It's pretty impressive they managed to condescend to Americans, disrespect the Canadian anthem and make an offensive point all at once— Chris Thompson (@itsgettinglate) July 13, 2016
@TenorsMusic You changed the words of O Canada to include "all lives matter"? Do you know just how beyond contentious & offensive that is?— Christy CeeCK (@ChristyCeeCK) July 13, 2016
The Tenors, in the meantime, have distanced itself from both the controversy and political statement by saying Pereira acted on his own. They even called him a “lone wolf.”
It is unclear if Pereira was fully aware of the consequences or the political significance of “All Lives Matter” when he decided to switch things up.
Although the phrase has always been controversial, the debate surrounding has gained more heat over the past week following the police deaths of several African American men — including Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. "All lives matter" popped up in response to Black Lives Matter, and many consider it a racist response that denies problems of police violence and bias against African Americans.